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Wednesday 18.07.2018 | Name days: Rozālija, Roze

New services and updates announced at Google I/O 2013

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Author: AFP/SCANPIX

Google’s I/O conference keynote was, in many ways, the opposite of what we expected. Google did not announce any new hardware, nor did the company reveal a new version of Android. Instead, Google spent about half of its annual developers conference focusing on developers and the tools they need to make better apps.

The rest of the time, Google spent announcing improvements to core Web services, such as Search, Maps and Google+. The biggest new product launch was arguably Google Play Music All Access, a competitor to subscription services like Spotify and Rdio, Time reported.

Here’s a quick overview of all the new, consumer-facing things that Google announced at the show:

Google Play Game Services

Google’s answer to iOS Game Center and Xbox Live lets users start playing a game on their phones and resume progress on their tablets.

Google Play Music All Access

For $9.99 per month — or $7.99 per month if you sign up by June 3 — you get millions of streaming tracks on Android devices and Web browsers, along with artist-based radio stations and personalized recommendations. No word on apps for iOS or other platforms.

Maps for Mobile

The smartphone version of Google Maps lends drivers a hand with warnings when a traffic jam pops up, along with a suggested new route. The map view will show major sources of traffic jams as well. Google has also created a new interface for tablets, with an “explore” feature that lets you browse for nearby restaurants, shops, bars and other attractions.

A Big Update for Desktop Maps

The desktop version of Google Maps is getting a major overhaul this summer, with smoother graphics and a focus on discovery. When users search for certain things, like sushi, they’ll see recommendations based on what they or their friends have reviewed. The interface will look a lot slicker, with photos, user reviews, navigation options and other details popping up as you click on each location. You can sign up to preview the new Maps through Google’s website.

New Features for Google+

Google is really hoping you’ll share more on Google+, its two-year-old social network. A new interface resembles Pinterest, with several columns of updates filling the page. For photos, Google+ can pare down your vacation photos by automatically selecting highlights, and it can make photos look better with skin softening, noise reduction and other quick editing tools. Google is also launching a separate Hangouts app for Android and iOS, letting users talk, share photos and jump into video chat.

New Cards for Google Now

Google’s virtual-assistant service will be able to tell you about upcoming TV shows and video games and provide real-time public transit updates in select cities. You can also use voice commands to set reminders on your phone, and Google Now will nudge you at the appropriate time.

Voice Search on the Desktop

While using Google search in Chrome, you’ll be able to start a voice search by saying “O.K., Google.” And just like the mobile app, the desktop version will support conversational searches, so you can say something like “Where’s the nearest pizza place?” followed by “How far is it from here?” Google says this feature will be available soon.

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